AJA Video Crosses the Finish Line for NASCAR Media Group

AJA KONA 3 Video Cards and FS1 Frame Syncs Boost Apple ProRes Workflow

AJA Video Systems, a leading manufacturer of professional video interface and conversion solutions, announced today that 34 KONA 3 video capture and playback cards are in use at NASCAR Media Group (NMG), the production and creative services company for NASCAR. KONA 3 is AJA’s top-of-the-line uncompressed capture card for SD, HD, and Dual Link 4:4:4 HD for Apple Mac Pro systems, and is an integral part of the NMG post production workflow.

As part of its transition to HD, and in preparation for a move later this year to a new facility at the 40,000 square foot NASCAR Plaza under construction in Charlotte, North Carolina, NMG made the conversion to an all-Apple ProRes workflow. The busy facility, led by Jeff Lowe, NMG managing director, media and broadcast technology, employs 16 KONA 3 cards to ingest 150 hours of multi-camera shooting for each race. An additional 18 KONA 3 cards are used for editing playback in NMG’s 10 edit bays, as well as to handle duplication and new media, and to support field operations for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series.

“We’re an all-AJA, all-ProRes shop,” Lowe said. “We’re big AJA fans, and prefer to use their products whenever possible. When we made the decision to switch to HD, we knew we wanted a 10-bit solution, and the obvious choice was the KONA 3. My past experience with AJA convinced me that pairing a KONA and a Mac is as good as any dedicated hardware solution there is in the field."

In addition to the KONA 3 video cards employed on the post production side of operations, NMG also uses the AJA FS1 frame sync in its field operations. The FS1 is a universal HD and SD, audio and video frame synchronizer and converter supporting virtually any input or output format in use in the 40 production trucks NASCAR employs.

“The FS1 is very reliable,” said NMG Field Operations Managing Director Steve Stum. “The challenge of our operation is that it runs 40 weeks a year, at a different location every week, which means that we can’t afford to buy equipment we don’t have complete confidence in. There’s never any question about using AJA.”

About KONA 3

KONA 3 is the ultimate uncompressed capture card for seamless operation with PCI Express (PCIe) Mac Pro systems and Apple Final Cut Pro. Supporting any uncompressed SD or HD format, including Dual Link HD and 2K, KONA 3 captures and plays back uncompressed 10-bit and 8-bit digital video and 24-bit digital audio, providing unparalleled power and workflow efficiency. KONA 3 also includes a variety of 10-bit broadcast-quality features, such as hardware-based up-, down-, and cross-conversion to and from HD, and adds a live hardware HD/SD keyer for compositing bugs, live clips, and other elements over video.

About FS1

The FS1 is a universal HD and SD audio and video frame synchronizer and converter. With an extremely flexible architecture, the FS1 can simultaneously support both HD and SD video—all in full 10-bit broadcast quality video and 24-bit audio. The FS1 supports virtually any input or output as analog or digital, HD or SD. This product can up-convert or down-convert between SD and HD while providing simultaneous outputs of both formats, and supports both closed captioning and closed captioning conversions between SD and HD formats. FS1 also includes 10-bit HD to HD cross-conversion for 1080 and 720 formats, and AFD support. For audio, the FS1 supports 8-channel AES, balanced analog or embedded audio with audio mapping and full flexibility. The FS1 is also network ready, offering web-based remote control and SNMP alerts.

About NASCAR Media Group

NASCAR Media Group is a media, marketing and entertainment company that creates and produces programming related to the sport, manages its media partnerships, and forges relationships to integrate the sport into mainstream entertainment. As the internal production and creative services company of NASCAR, NASCAR Media Group is the exclusive rights holder of NASCAR event footage, race data and content. The NASCAR Media Group leverages The Sight, Sound and Emotion of NASCAR through TV and film production, home video, licensed consumer products and premiums for the sports’ sponsors, tracks, teams and fans. To learn more, visit www.nascarmediagroup.com

About AJA Video Systems, Inc.

Since 1993, AJA Video has been a leading manufacturer of high-quality and cost-effective digital video interface, conversion and Desktop solutions supporting the professional broadcast and post- production markets. With headquarters in Grass Valley, California, AJA maintains an extensive sales channel of dealers and systems integrators around the world. For further information, please see our website www.aja.com.